HARLEM — A drug trafficking gang that ran crack through East Harlem's AK Houses has been taken down after a 10-month investigation, the city's top narcotics prosecutor said.
The operation led to the arrest of 17 members of the gang “No Sleep Get Money, or “N$GM,” for “round-the-clock narcotics sales” at the private housing complex on 128th and Lexington Avenue, officials said.
Charges include conspiracy and criminal sale of a controlled substance.
“Finding decent affordable housing is challenging enough for low-income Manhattan residents without facing daily threats posed by warring gangs and around the clock drug trafficking," said Bridget G. Brennan, the city’s special narcotics prosecutor.
“AK Houses provides desperately needed subsidized housing, but became the site of multiple shootings and nonstop drug dealing, putting hard working families in peril.”
The NYPD began the investigation — dubbed “Operation Insomnia” — in November 2015 in response to community complaints about drug sales and shootings in the area, officials said.
At least five shootings took place in front of the AK Houses over the past year, officials said.
The gang sold crack in the lobbies, hallways and stairwells of the AK Houses, officials said.
At all hours of the day and night, gang members met with customers on sidewalks in front of the housing complex, playgrounds, three public schools and a charter school, officials said.
The gang also sold crack cocaine to undercover officers on approximately 20 occasions, with the majority of these transactions set up by cell phone, officials said.
Officials also seized two firearms during the investigation. On Sept. 15, police seized a .38 caliber firearm and a .9mm firearm from an apartment in the AK Houses from Matthew Jones, one of the gang members, officials said.
The guns, along with cocaine and drug paraphernalia, were recovered from inside a dresser drawer in a bedroom where a 1-year-old and three other children were present, which prompted charges of unlawfully dealing with a child and possession of an illegal firearm, officials said.